Tibicen lyricen in New England
News Category: Cicada General Info
Tibicen lyricen in New England
I have been particularly focused on New Hampshire and Maine this cicada season. Between finding new spots for O. rimosa - among other species - I am also focusing on Tibicen lyricen's northern-most range. Depending on who you talk to, some say that this species' ranges up into New Brunswick and even further into Canada. Some even say that it is New England's most common species even over Tibicen canicularis - the Northern Dog Day cicada.
However, even the term "most common" seems to be a point of contention and varies depending on who you talk to. Does it mean that where a species is known to exist and has a higher population density than other species does that make it the most common? Or does most common refer to a species with the widest coverage. Even where single or multiple individuals can be seen or heard over a larger geographic area?
I like to think of it this way; I could probably collect more specimens of T. lyricen in an area where both species are known to exist but I cannot collect T. lyricen in places where only T. canicularis exists. That is to say, I have found more areas where T. canicularis has been documented than I have documented T. lyricen just not in the same population densities.
I can tell you that based on the places I've been mapping cicadas in the Northeast and the hundreds of miles that I have covered that finding T. lyricen anywhere above the 42nd parallel in New England is proving very difficult. I have been to southern Maine and Vermont with nary a sign nor song from Tibicen lyricen. This species may range farther than the 42nd parallel to the west of Vermont but here in New England, the 42nd parallel is as high as I have been able to document them so far. Even in areas of Central Massachusetts Tibicen lyricen seems to be surprisingly absent.
It may have something to do with how the geography changes the further north you go. As you proceed north in New Hampshire and Vermont, the elevation heading into the mountains increases while at the same time we experience changes in forest and soil types. It may be that these changes in topography may result in unfavorable conditions for Tibicen lyricen. This may explain why Tibicen lyricen is replaced by Okananana in the northern New England states. However, you can still readily hear Tibicen canicularis north of the 42nd parallel.
The areas I have found Tibicen lyricen above the northern border of Massachusetts and within the 42nd parallel is in southeastern New Hampshire. Specifically in the towns of Hudson, Salem, Portsmouth, Windham and Pelham, NH. Hopefully with patience and a little luck, I'll be able to increase their range in the surrounding towns but I am doubtful of finding them above the 42 parallel.
Since I lack any real voucher specimens of cicadas in the Tibicen genus for New Hampshire, I have been trying to remedy that by going to Pelham, NH where previous mapping expeditions showed some very promising signs.
Below are examples of Tibicen tenerals taken from Gibson Cemetery on Marsh Road in Pelham, NH. This area is only a few miles north of the Massachusetts border. I also managed to collect a Tibicen lyricen nymph but that specimen is being saved for a future article.
Tibicen canicularis teneral
I really enjoy cicadas as tenerals. They exhibit some pretty interesting color patterns before the process of sclerotization is completed. We find color variations in the fully sclerotized adults as well. This can pose a number of problems with identification and the variations in color would seem to be directly related to the habitats in which they are found. Tibicen canicularis can be found in pine barren habitats to deciduous forests or riparian woods and other types of habitats.
Tibicen lyricen teneral
T. lyricen is no less fascinating as a teneral. Keys to identification in this phase of its development seem to be pretty consistant where ever one travels to find them. Even outside of New England. One of the key clinchers is the very dark almost black eyes at this stage as well as a pinkish blue tinge to the pronotal collar and blueish tinge to the mesothorax.
If you have evidence such as a photo or documentation indicating that Tibicen lyricen can be found above the 42nd parallel in Maine, New Hampshire or Vermont, please get in contact with me. If you have a sighting with photo please report it through the Report Cicadas or Cicada Killers online form. Thanks for reading.